Digital Studies as Organology and Pharmacology
Bernard Stiegler directs the Institut de recherche et d’innovation du Centre Pompidou and is president of the Ars Industrialis association. He is affiliate faculty at the Université de Technologie de Compiègne, distinguished professor at Nanjing University, and visiting professor at the Cogut Center for the Humanities at Brown University.
Digital studies have two principal traits:
- They concern computational technologies from a point of view that is both epistemic (as described by Michel Foucault) and epistemological (as expressed by Gaston Bachelard). That is to say, these technologies are understood to be fundamentally transforming the objects and objectives of science and, more generally, transforming knowledge of all kinds (including both savoir-vivre and savoir-faire).
- Consequently, they address -- beyond the contemporary situation in which knowledge is immersed in digital technology – a theory and a history of the effects of all forms of « exosomatization » starting with digital capacities to fabricate, to make, with numerical figures and fingers. Both meanings of « digit » are explored in « digital studies. »
Exosomatization (cf., Lotka and Georgescu-Roegen) is the the organogenesis of artifacts which constitute the underpinnings of knowledge. However, these underpinnings are « pharmaka » (in Socrates’s sense) : both poisons and medicines. Digital studies that examine these two sides of the pharmakon are a « pharmacology. » And, the analysis of the relations between exosomatic organs, endosomatic organs and social organizations constitute a general organology.
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